Patreon members and YouTube channel members had access to this video on Feb 7, 2022. The video’s public release will be April 13, 2022 – over 2 months early!
Thumbnail image is of Lyric, a pale skinned nonbinary human, with short green, yellow, and orange hair, with shaved sides (in need of a haircut). They are sitting in an RV with dark wood panel walls. In front of them the words Shame KILLS in yellow and orange text.
Hey internet – Lyric here, and this week, I am going to be talking about shame.
Yeah, that’d be a fun and energetic topic.
Shame is defined as a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or perceived impropriety. That is one definition talking about how shame is experienced from the inside.
However, I want to talk more about having shame that is put on you from society and people around you; shame that is unjustified, that many NeuroDivergent, LGBTQIA, and other marginalized people may feel, and the impact that shame has on those of us who are in those groups.
If you would like to know more, please do stay tuned.
Shame comes from feeling like we’ve done something wrong, or we aren’t good enough. However, often, these feelings can be imposed on us by outside forces, that determine what “socially acceptable” is.
If we go along with those beliefs to what “acceptable” is, then we are more vulnerable to shame.
You have to believe that you’ve done something unacceptable to feel shame. When you feel you have done something, or as a person, you yourself, are unacceptable in some way, it can cause you to feel humiliated.
We may make ourselves small, wanting to hide, run away, disappear, sabotage relationships and other things in our lives, because we can believe that we are unworthy of them, or anything good.
When people feel shame, they often will try to hide the things they feel ashamed of. If you’re ashamed of yourself, that means hiding yourself.
If shame becomes chronic, a person can begin to believe that they, themselves, as a person, are fundamentally flawed, worthless, and that they don’t deserve to exist. Shame causes us to shift our focus inward on ourselves, but not in a constructive, or helpful, way.
When we feel shame, we are more likely to judge ourselves more harshly and may only be able to see our flaws, and be unable to appreciate our strengths, victories, and our accomplishments; because shame can grow so large that it obstructs everything else from view.
The impact that shame can have on people, not just Autistic People, and not just NeuroDivergent People, but people in general, can be great.
Shame can make you feel like you are a broken person, like there’s something wrong with you. Shame can lead people to withdrawing socially, or withdrawing from people, things, and activities, that you normally would enjoy.
Shame can have devastating impacts on people’s mental health, leading to low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. Shame can have impacts on your physical health, as well, and can lead to relapse or addiction.
Shame may make you more likely to engage in people pleasing, and can cause you to separate yourself from your own authenticity. If you think that who you are as a person, isn’t good enough, you can lose yourself, and become someone you never wanted to be.
I have known that I’m a member of the Queer community since I was very young.
In Queer culture, we have Pride as a counter measure against all of the discrimination, societal stigma, and pressure from the world around us to be ashamed of who we are, because we, especially here in Texas, have society and the world telling us that we are abominations, and we are “sins against God” just for existing.
There’s Gay Conversion Therapies, and other kinds of Conversion Therapies for NeuroDivergent People, as well, that work to change us into something that is more “socially acceptable” – more “socially desirable”.
We are told that who we are, naturally, isn’t good enough. Who we are is “unacceptable” to the people around us, and we have that constant rejection, “If we could just make ourselves better and make ourselves more palatable, somehow, maybe we could be good enough too.”
In LGBTQIA plus communities, we know that our young people are less likely to suffer poor mental health outcomes, and more likely to live their full lives, instead of coming to unfortunate early ends.
It’s less likely if you are able to feel pride and not shame… which is true for any human being. If you’re able to have pride in yourself, and who you are, and feel strong in your identity, despite the world constantly pressuring you to be someone or something you’re not, you’re more likely to have a better outcome.
Autistic and NeuroDivergent People, right now, are struggling. Many of us have additional mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression. Epilepsy and suicide are among top killers of Autistic People, but I, strongly, do not believe that all Autistic People have anxiety by default, or that all Autistic People have mental health issues, or that we’re more prone to mental health issues just because we’re Autistic.
I truly believe that shame, imposed by society… people constantly telling Autistic and NeuroDivergent People, just as they do Queer and Trans People, and LGBTQIA plus People… telling us that who we are isn’t good enough, that we’re burdens, that we’re unworthy, that we’re broken NeuroTypicals, and we need to try harder to fit ourselves into these systems, that weren’t designed with our needs in mind.
Then when we’re unable to meet these unfair, unjust, and cruel expectations, it’s hard on our self-worth; because then we feel like we’re not good enough, that we’ve fallen short, we’ve missed the mark, and that we don’t deserve anything.
You know what the antidote to shame is? The opposite of shame. Pride.
Pride is so big in LGBTQIA culture because shame was killing LGBTQIA plus people. Stigma was killing LGBTQIA plus people.
Pride… whether you are Queer, NeuroDivergent, part of another group that society marginalizes, or does not value, as much as it prioritizes and values the dominant culture… the NeuroMajority, in the case of NeuroDivergent People, or the CIS heteronormative culture, here in America, and other cultures that are prioritized… having pride is an act of defiance.
You have to reclaim your pride. I had to reclaim my sense of self-worth, my sense of self pride, because I had started to believe the lie that I was worthless, that I was not good enough, that I was a broken, lesser, NeuroTypical Person.
I was holding myself to NeuroTypical standards. My whole life NeuroTypical people around me had told me that I was not enough.
Being boldly, and proudly Autistic, proudly NeuroDivergent, proudly Queer, proudly NonBinary, proudly Trans, when people around me are telling me I should not be proud of any of those things is me, being defiant, taking up space, and telling society and all of those people, who would want me to feel shame, that I refuse to be ashamed. I refuse to hide, and I refuse to make myself small, for your comfort.
All right, everyone. Thank you so much for hanging out with me this week. If you’re still here and you liked the video, hit that thumbs up, so I know that you found this helpful. If you found it helpful enough, hopefully, someone else would find it helpful too. Go ahead and hit that share button, so that someone new might be able to find my content.
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Thank you. You make this blog what it is. I’m so grateful for each and every one of you.
I will see you all next week! Good luck with the rest of April. You got this! .
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One thought on “Shame Kills – Autism, NeuroDivergence, Pride, & Shame”
University Neurodiversity Alliance at UNR.. FYI…